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MEHR Iran Announces Iranian Torture Victim Sues the Islamic Regime of Iran.

News Editors/Political Writers

PALOS VERDES PENINSULA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 4, 2003

MEHR Iran announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran (IRI), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, and Ali Akbar Fallahian Khuzestani. The announcement was made at a Los Angeles conference to commemorate the massacre of prisoners of conscience in Iran and all over the world.

The lawsuit filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) charges that agents of the Islamic Regime of Iran tortured the plaintiff, Gholam Nikbin, who served three years in jail for his conversion to the Mormon faith and for permitting dancing at his wedding.

When asked whether he was not afraid of the terrible consequences of suing the Islamic Regime of Iran, Nikbin said to hundreds of audiences: "I do not care about my life. I want the whole world to hear my voice and know what they did to me. I am still suffering from what they did to me. I do not want this to happen to another Iranian. I want to free my country from these terrorists."

"This lawsuit sends a wake-up call to Iran that it can and will be held responsible for torturing its own people," said CJA attorney Joshua Sondheimer. "Subjecting someone to torture for their religious beliefs is abhorrent and condemned by international law, and Iran and the officials responsible thankfully can be brought to justice in United States courts," Sondheimer added.

Mohammad Parvin, founder of Los Angeles-based Iranian human rights organization MEHR, said: "This is our first lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran but will certainly not be the last. We seek justice for the victims of the Islamic Regime of Iran because we believe peace cannot be achieved without justice. We also believe it is an effective way to stop the legitimization of the Islamic Regime of Iran by the interest-driven western governments.

"Our tireless efforts and dedication in exposing the human rights violations in Iran, the defense of prisoners of conscience, and formation of several conferences on the human rights violation in Iran, along with our continuous interaction with the international human rights organizations including Amnesty International, resulted in two significant achievements that we are very proud of:

1- We received recognition and gained the respect and trust of the Iranian people. Many of the victims of the Islamic Regime came to us and gave us authorization to act as their confidant and to seek justice.

2- We gained recognition from the international human rights organizations and were fortunate to attract the generous support of the `Center for Justice and Accountability' in undertaking the legal aspects of filing lawsuits against the Islamic Regime of Iran.

"Today, we are so pleased that after several years of hard work and in spite of all the obstacles, we have been able to file this lawsuit," added Parvin.

"I send you my greetings and support as you meet for this poignant conference to commemorate the thousands of victims of the 1988 massacre of prisoners of conscience carried out by the brutal Iranian regime. This oddly oft-forgotten crime against humanity, carried out on an order by the cruel dictator Khomeini, symbolizes and crystalizes the essential nature of the so-called Islamic Republic of Iran, which perversely exploits religion as a cover to oppress and kill as it sees fit. The barbaric behavior of this regime continues unabated today, as we have seen again just recently with the death in detention of the Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi," said Congressman Tom Lantos (D- 12th District, CA) in a message to the conference.

"As a fellow promoter of human rights in Iran, I warmly commend the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran for honoring the memory of those who have suffered from the savagery of this regime, for creatively using the courts to seek redress for victims of regime criminality, and for providing the occasion for all of us to re-dedicate ourselves to the struggle to achieve a just and democratic Iran. I know that the Iranian people aspire to enjoy the same blessings of democracy, freedom, and rule of law that we enjoy here in the United States. Numerous spontaneous demonstrations over the years, such as those violently suppressed by regime thugs in June, attest to Iranian yearnings. I join with MEHR in seeking to assure that all Iranians be accorded fundamental human rights," added Congressman Lantos.

In a message to the conference, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D- 47th District, CA) stated: "I regret that I cannot be here in person as you gather in remembrance of the thousands of prisoners of Conscience massacred by the Islamic Regime of Iran in the summer of 1988. Your efforts to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for crimes against humanity not only honors the memory of those who lost their lives in pursuit of freedom and basic human rights, but provides an inspiration for those who continue the daily struggle for peace and justice under the constant threat of peril."

The Congresswoman from Garden Grove, CA further stated that: "I applaud your efforts to bring the Islamic Republic of Iran's flagrant human rights violations to the attention of the international community, and pledge to continue to be a voice for the people of Iran in the United States Congress."

Congressman Howard Berman (D-28th District, CA), in his message to the conference stated: "Although a scheduling conflict prevents me from joining you in person, I am writing to let you know that I stand with you in your struggle to promote respect for human rights in Iran. As a senior member of the house International Relations Committee I will do everything in my power to help further this goal.

"Iran has a dismal record on human rights. Journalists are routinely jailed, dozens of newspapers have been shut down, religious minorities are persecuted, opposition leaders are beaten or killed and average Iranians are denied the most fundamental civil liberties: freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion and the freedom to choose their own leaders," added Congressman Berman.

Mr. Sean Butler, the President of the International Criminal Court Alliance in Southern California, described the mechanism of International Criminal Court in bringing to justice the perpetrators.
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Date:Sep 4, 2003
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